Following is a listing of legislative action for the week of May 5. Members of the General Assembly are set to return to session the week of June 2.
• The state House of Representatives Finance Committee approved HB 2232, which would eliminate the 12 percent inheritance tax paid by siblings. • SB 1037, which would eliminate the statutory requirements for low Reid vapor pessure gasoline in Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Fayette, Washington and Westmoreland counties during the summer months, is before Gov. Tom Corbett. The sponsor of the bill, state Sen. Elder Vogel, R-Beaver, said the requirements amount to a “hidden tax.”
• The House Urban Affairs Committee approved two bills, HBs 2045 and 2141, which would reduce blight.
HB 2141 would create community development authorities to acquire these properties and lease them to small businesses known as microenterprises.
HB 2045 would create tax incentives for developers and property owners who are approved to rebuild abandoned or blighted property for mixed-use purposes.
• The House sent Corbett legislation, HB 434, that would mandate school employees report suspected cases of child abuse.
The sponsor of the bill, state Rep. David Maloney, R-Berks, said he became aware of a loophole in the reporting law after his election to a school board in his legislative district.
• The House approved HB 1714, which would clarify the Landlord-Tenant Act regarding the the disposition of personal property left behind when tenants move out.
The sponsor of the bill, state Rep. Scott Petri, R-Bucks, said in a statement that a landlord currently is required to file an eviction proceeding against a tenant who has vacated a property without returning the keys. Since many tenants leave some personal property behind, the onus is on the landlord to try to locate the tenant and serve him or her with a complaint for eviction in order to get the items removed—even when substantially all of the tenant’s property is removed and it is clear he or she will not be returning.
• State Rep. Greg Lucas, R-Erie, introduced legislation that would allow Pennsylvanians to use semiautomatic rifles to hunt coyotes, foxes and woodchucks.
“This bill would help farmers protect their livestock from the threat of foxes and coyotes,” Lucas said in a statement. “These rifles are already legal for Pennsylvanians to own and use for target practice. Semiautomatic rifles already are in homes across the commonwealth. I simply want to allow the owners to use them for a new purpose.”
• The appointment of deputy tax collectors would be mandatory under legislation soon to be introduced by state Rep. Doyle Heffley, R-Carbon.
“This bill is in response to a recent issue in a local municipality, where a tax collector was unable to fulfill the duties of the office,” Heffley said in a statement. “Having a deputy tax collector in place would help eliminate the confusion among taxpayers faced with that type of situation.”
• House Majority Leader Mike Turzai, R-Allegheny, said he plans to introduce legislation to modernize Pennsylvania’s entity law to enable business entities to change their organizational forms as businesses grow and change over time.
Turzai said in a sponsorship memo that his legislation is based on model legislation prepared by the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws and was drafted in close consultation with the Pennsylvania Bar Association.
• State Rep. Justin Simmons, R-Lehigh, said he plans to introduce HB 2204, which would provide for homeless infants and toddlers to be eligible for early intervention services in Pennsylvania.
In a sponsorship memo, Simmons said his legislation would amend the Early Intervention Services Act of 1990 to add a sixth category of at-risk children to trigger automatic tracking of an infant or toddler by early intervention services. Currently, there are five categories that trigger the automatic tracking of a child by early intervention services, including children whose birth weight is under 1,500 grams; children being cared for in neonatal intensive care units of hospitals; children born to chemically dependent mothers; children who are seriously abused or neglected; and children with confirmed dangerous levels of lead poisoning.